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Common Bankruptcy QuestionsHow can Bankruptcy help me?
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PROPERTIES MAY BE PROTECTED: Keeping your house in a Bankruptcy depends on how much “equity” you have in it. Under California homestead exemption laws, and with the current low real estate values, most homes can be protected in a Bankruptcy, even with equity. An experienced Bankruptcy attorney will make sure to analyze your case properly BEFORE filing, to make sure that those assets and properties that are dear to you and your family are fully protected.
CARS MAY BE PROTECTED: As with keeping your home, there are certain California state and federal exemption (aka asset protection) laws that must be taken into account when preparing to file a Bankruptcy. Therefore, if the “equity” in your car is also capable of being exempted under the relevant laws, then your car(s) is/are fully protected and can be kept.
YES, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO FULLY ERASE YOUR SECOND OR THIRD MORTGAGE: Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, if your house is “under water”, meaning that the value of your home is LESS than the balance on your FIRST mortgage, then all other junior liens/mortgages can be fully removed from your property. This often leads to hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings for more clients, who are able to erase their second and/or third mortgages from their primary residence, and at the same time also take care of their credit card debt through the same bankruptcy filing!
FILE AS SOON AS NECESSARY AND ADVISEABLE: How long it takes to prepare a Bankruptcy for filing depends on you and your attorney. And experienced attorney will NOT rush you into filing a case, and will keep an eye out on your case to make sure that you do not file too soon or too late. Depending on each individual situation, there may be many factors that could affect the timing of filing your case. At our office, some cases are filed sooner than later, but on average we have a 14 day turn-around period to prepare and file a case, once certain requirements are completed by our client. We also handle emergency filings, where a Bankruptcy petition is filed literally days before a pending foreclosure or repossession. Even for these emergency cases, we make sure to do a full analysis of your situation, to make sure that nothing else is jeopardized from the sudden filing of your Bankruptcy.
MAYBE: There is a small window of exceptions that allow certain tax debts from being discharged or erased in Bankruptcy. Generally, tax debt is not dischargeable in Bankruptcy, unless these specific timing requirements are met. It is best to discuss your specific situation with an attorney for more information.
YES! If you qualify for filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can safely repay your debts without any further interest being added to them, and with an affordable monthly payment plan.
BANKRUPTCY CAN IMMEDIATELY STOP A FORECLOSURE: By filing a Bankruptcy, you will immediately and automatically put a stop on all foreclosure actions, buying you valuable time to figure out how to take the next step.
YES CREDITORS MUST STOP CALLING YOU. Once a client retains our office, they are advised to tell their creditors to contact us, even BEFORE their case is filed. This gives our clients a great deal more peace of mind, so they can focus on preparing their paperwork for filing their case, and moving on with their normal lives.
YES CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT PAYMENTS CAN BE REPAID THROUGH A BANKRUPTCY: If you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can set up a fixed monthly payment plan to repay your back child or spousal support payments, without further fears of having the government after you.
IT IS ADVISABLE TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY HELP YOU WITH BANKRUPTCY: As with any other area of law, you can technically file your Bankruptcy on your own. However, if you do, you are held to the same standards of the law, meaning that if you oversee an important matter of bankruptcy law, you might put your properties or money at risk, to the extent that you may risk losing your home, or money in the bank account, etc.
NOT NECESSARILY: There is no legal requirement to be late on your credit card payments in order to file a Bankruptcy. It is very important to seek the help of an attorney to advise you about paying certain creditors instead of others, as that could possibly affect your future bankruptcy filing.
This is one of the most important and dangerous questions that clients ask. There are very very strict standards associated with the transfer of ANY property before the filing of a Bankruptcy case. It is serious to the extent that it could be deemed a fraudulent transfer, thereby putting the house/other property, as well as the RECIPIENT of the transfer at very high risk, once the bankruptcy is filed. PLEASE talk to an attorney first before making such decisions or taking these actions.